(Reuters) -- Western European car sales rose 5.8 percent in January as southern markets continued to lead demand.
Registrations rose to 1.01 million cars in the first month of 2016, according to data compiled by LMC Automotive.
The monthly sales figure amounted to a seasonally adjusted selling rate of 13.9 million cars per year, up 5.5 percent on the year.
"The West European car market got off to a strong start to the year, growing 5.8 percent year-on-year, despite having one less selling day this month," LMC Automotive analyst Emiliano Lewis said.
Sales in Germany grew by 3.3 percent last month, while France was up 3.5 percent and the UK rose 3 percent.
But southern markets showed the greatest growth as Spanish registrations rose 12 percent and Italian sales jumped 17 percent.
"While the market is forecast to continue to grow for the third consecutive year, economic headwinds from outside Europe provide a downside risk," Lewis said.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report